2 out of 4 stars
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Keeping judgment aside, in life, we come across many things that have no better description than bizarre. And this book is one such thing. As much of a challenge this book was to understand, it is even more challenging to give an opinion on it. Nonetheless, it is intriguing for sure.
There and Back There Again by Andrew Alsup is a fragmented trace of Andrew's being. The essence of his thoughts, feelings, and emotions. As he showcases the very essence of his being, he rips it out of its context and presents it as is; nothing but his reality that might be unreal to others. It is a deep dive into an unusual persona through the repertoires of thoughts and poetry, spiraling down from strange conspiracies to a loving man.
As the book starts, it keeps getting more and more, for the lack of a better word, bizarre. It is as though the author published a record of his most raw opinions just as he birthed them. Touching upon many unrelating topics, such as the Constitution of the United States, the grandiose self, schizophrenia, his pet dogs, some of his poems, and some by his favorite poets, we get to know more about the author yet understand nothing. From a reader's position, I refrain from judging whenever the author speaks of his auditory hallucinations. Because although the author did call them hallucinations, it was only once in the entire book. He still referred to these voices with a sense of realness. Readers who might find it difficult to approach this work with such an open mind could miss out on a lot of lyricality in their state of confusion. For instance, when the author describes the feeling of hearing everybody at once, he goes on to say, "I have heard the sound of billions of voices; it sounds like running water in a fountain."
Just like how after reading this book, the reader will most likely be somewhere between knowing and understanding the author; similarly, this piece of work is between good and bad. As something unexplainable that exists. So there is no clear-cut direction to pass a verdict on this book. However, the author has made some rather questionable choices. For instance, the inclusion of classic poems and a whole article by Edgar Allan Poe, as is, with no addition of personal relevance or reason, does not quite add up. Additionally, there is a page-long bit where the author talks about his liking for Edgar Allan Poe's work, which comes up twice.
After all this, the editing of this book was sloppy. There was a plethora of spelling and grammatical errors. For this reason and the reasons mentioned above, I deduct two stars and rate this book 2 out of 4 stars. I would recommend this book only for adults willing to take up this book as a challenge. It is inappropriate for younger readers as it is heavy on abusive language. Adults interested in poetry and ready to keep judgments and labels aside may find this one interesting.
There and Back There Again
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